October 15th – On this Day in…

Ajax Again – Sinks 3 Italians

October 15th, 1940

HMS Ajax

HMS Ajax, the famous cruiser which battered the Graf Spee in the River Plate battle , has sunk 2 Italian destroyers and, in the face of heavy odds, crippled another in two brilliant Mediterranean Actions.

HMS York finished off the damaged vessel and then the navy showed its complete contempt for Mussolini’s navy.

Despite the risk of giving away their position in clear weather they radioed the position of the sinking vessel and its survivors on Italian wavelengths. Italian aircraft picked up on the transmission but failed to score any hits on the British ships. A report on the incident stated:

 “HMS Ajax made contact with three Italian destroyers of the 679 ton Airone class, about eighty miles south-east of Sicily. HMS Ajax at once engaged and two of the destroyers were sunk outright.” “Shortly after this encounter Ajax sighted an enemy force composed of one heavy cruiser and four destroyers.” “Ajax again engaged and succeeded in crippling one of the enemy destroyers. The remainder of the force escaped into the darkness.”

“Dead” VC is Prisoner

October 15th, 1940

Captain Wilson

A British officer reported to have been killed defending a machine-gun post in Somaliland and awarded the VC is alive, and a prisoner of war in the hands of the Italians.

The officer is Lieutenant (acting Captain) Eric Charles Twelves Wilson of the East Surrey Regiment, attached to the Somaliland Camel Corps. When informed, Captain Wilson’s mother was said to be unable to believe the news. His VC citation read:

 “For four days the posts manned by Somali soldiers were blasted by short-range gunfire. Captain Wilson was wounded in one shoulder and one eye, and was suffering from malaria.”

Wins DSO for his 21st Birthday

October 15th, 1941

Paddy Finucane

Irish born RAF ace Paddy Finucane has been awarded the DSO on his 21st Birthday. Paddy, acting Squadron Leader has shot down twenty-three enemy planes and already holds the DFC with two bars.

Axis Lose 12 more over Malta: 94 Since Sunday

October 15th, 1942

Spitfire on Malta

The Spitfires of Malta shot down twelve more enemy aircraft; four bombers and eight fighters were downed while several more were damaged. The battle brings the number of enemy aircraft downed over or near Malta to ninety-four since Sunday. British losses were twelve Spitfires but five pilots are safe.  

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